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Album: Bachman-Turner Overdrive IIReleased: 1973Charted:
Randy Bachman and Fred Turner of Bachman-Turner Overdrive got the idea for this song when they were driving to a gig in New Orleans.
As Bachman tells it, they were driving on a highway when a few truckers decided to have some fun with the musicians, who were riding in the little van from Canada. The truckers boxed them in and slowed down to a crawl. When they finally turned into a truck stop, Randy and Fred followed them with the intent of giving them a good talking to. Unfortunately, in the words of Randy Bachman, "The trucker looked like a Volkswagen with a head." The truckers had a good laugh and told the band that they needed to learn to "Let it ride."
Bachman and Turner had never heard that expression before, but they liked the sound of it: it meant to just relax and not let things upset you. When they got to New Orleans, they wrote the song in their dressing room.
The distinctive guitar riff in this song is something Randy Bachman came up with after listening to a classical piece by Antonin Dvorak called "Piano Concerto in D." He transposed a chord progression he heard in the piece to guitar, which sounded great.
Bachman believes that pretty much any piece of modern music is based on something that came before. When we spoke with him in 2014
, he said: "You've got to get them, reshape them, and hopefully they are reshaped enough that you can call it original."
All of the background vocals were sung by Fred Turner, which caused a flanging effect that Randy Bachman liked. (thanks, Jim - Aurora, CO)
Does this song's intro sound similar to that of "Long Train Runnin'
" by the Doobie Brothers? Randy Bachman thinks so. He says that the Doobie Brothers were sharing a dressing room with him and Fred Turner the night they came up with "Let It Ride," and the Doobies nicked the riff for their song.